Thursday, June 18, 2009

Villain Of The Day

(see dick. see dick embezzle. embezzle dick, embezzle.)

What is WRONG with people?? And what is wrong with health care in our country? These 2 questions might be related. Let's see ...

First, let me introduce my Villain Of The Day. His name is Richard Scrushy. Never heard of him? Me neither. Till I saw a story about him on

Richard is the former CEO of HealthSouth, a rehabilitation chain which proudly proclaims on its website that it is "one of the nation's largest healthcare services providers." The company's mission statement includes many lofty ideals including "providing high-quality health care in an innovative, yet cost-effective manner, managing our resources wisely."

Richard was recently ordered by a judge to pay HealthSouth shareholders $2.8 billion dollars because while he was CEO, he found all sorts of innovative ways to "manage" the company's resources. According to the article, his shenanigans "nearly sent the company into bankruptcy."

Here is just one example of Richard's exploits:
HealthSouth purchased 19 acres of land next to Scrushy's suburban Birmingham estate for $1.9 million. Three years later the company gave the land to Richard. Lucky him! Scrushy said he got the land instead of a bonus.

When questioned about his talent for "earning" mucho money for himself while apparently ignoring his company's mission statement altogether, Scrushy replied, "That's the way it works in America."

Ok, first of all, I would love to disagree with Scrushy's statement. But unfortunately, he is right. Just look at the health insurance CEO salaries I listed a few days ago. There is big, big money to be made in health care. So why shouldn't every CEO take his fair share? That's the way it works.

Second of all, we may all agree that corporate profits are the "American way." But holy cow - how much extra cash did this company have lying around, if $2.8 billion worth of scheming NEARLY sends them into bankruptcy??? What the heck would it take to actually HURT their bottom line? Is it possible that perhaps, maybe, somewhere along the line someone is paying too much for their services?

Just asking.

Richard, I am glad the judge is making you pay. And I am delighted to name you my first official Villain Of The Day. Congratulations. You earned it.



  1. I nominate you to lead the grass roots movement! What can we do?

  2. Lily, that's a great question! I will make that my next topic.